There is so much that 4,000 years of tradition and wisdom can teach us.  Young or old, observant or not-so-much; whether you already know a lot or are just starting out – you’re not alone. Jump in. No wrong answers –

CBI 2017 Scholar-in-Residence:
Aviya Kushner

November 10th - 12th

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"With the knowledge and empathy I have gained at the Friday Study Group, my understanding of life has also grown. We are a community where I can live my values."-Carol Cohen

 This week's learning

Torah on Tap @ Habitat Tavern and Commons
Nov 26 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Torah on Tap: Beyond Blessings
Creating a Practice of Gratitude

Sunday November 26th – 4pm – 5:30pm
Habitat Tavern & Commons, 174 Broadway


In Judaism, there is a blessing for just about everything. But few, save the most observant, know them, much less use them on a regular basis to acknowledge their gratitude. What then is our practice of gratitude? Is it a mindful part of our daily lives? Or is it an intermittent and reflexive “thank you” tacked on to the end of a conversation?

This month, in honor of Thanksgiving, we’ll be sharing and discussing the importance of having or creating a practice of gratitude. What are the challenges? How might it disrupt our daily routine, both positively and negatively? Is the world ready?

All are welcome – all opinions valued. This event is free and open.  Non-alcoholic beverages are available.  Habitat does not serve food, so feel free to bring a snack or meal.


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Learn to Chant Torah!
Nov 26 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm


Yes, you, too, can learn to chant Torah portions on Shabbat, using the correct trope.  Beth Israel Synagogue will offer a series of classes this fall on learning the ta’amei ha-mikra (Torah cantillation marks, or trope).  No previous Torah chanting experience is presumed, but you will need to know how to read Hebrew at least basically.  It is not necessary to be able to read musical notation.  All of the tropes used in regular Shabbat Torah chanting will be covered (the course will not cover the special tropes used for holidays or the haftarah trope).  The course will also cover the function of cantillation marks as an aid to understanding the Biblical text and as a guide for stressing the correct syllable, as well as some of the common problem areas of proper Hebrew pronunciation.  Frank Goldsmith will teach the classes.  Written materials will be provided.  There is a charge, payable to Congregation Beth Israel, of $18 for CBI members and $36 for non-members.

The classes will be taught on six consecutive Sunday evenings beginning on October 22 and concluding on November 26, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the downstairs conference room at Temple Beth HaTephila. Each student will also be offered an aliyah to chant after completion of the course. Thus you will have plenty of time to practice before stepping up to the bima!

To register for the classes, please contact the synagogue office, 828-252-8660, or admin@bethisraelnc.org.  Please call by no later than Monday, October 2, so that we will have time to prepare sufficient materials for all students.

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Meet the Midrash
Nov 29 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Meet the Midrash
Wednesdays, noon to 1:00 pm
Published Tuesday, March 18, 2014 8:00 am

Out of the texts of the Torah, the Rabbis created teachings bringing deeper meanings to the wisdom of the Jewish people known as Midrash. Each week we will explore some of these teachings based on the weekly Torah portion. We will gain not only an understanding of what the Rabbis were teaching, but how and why they were able to offer these teachings. While there are many compilations of Midrash from different periods in Jewish history, we will focus our studies on Midrash Rabbah.

Wednesdays 12 noon – 1pm

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Living Torah
Nov 30 @ 8:30 am – 9:30 am
Living Torah @ Asheville | North Carolina | United States

Start your day off with inspired learning and meaningful conversations, relevant and insightful lessons from the wellspring of Jewish wisdom.

All are welcome. No experience necessary.

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Friday Noon Study Group
Dec 1 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Starting on October 20 CBI’s Friday Noon Study Group will be discussing Aviya Kushner’s The Grammar of God, a National Jewish Book Award and Sami Rohr Prize finalist.  The Grammar of God, is about what the Bible loses in translation, what those who read it in Hebrew can access but those reading in other languages cannot. Profesor Kushner’s book is available on a variety of Internet web sites.

Because of the renovations going on at CBI, our group, which has been gathering for the past 18 years, will be meeting every Friday, from 12-1, in Unger Hall at Congregation Beth Ha Tephila, at 43 North Liberty Street.  When we meet on Fridays, you can park in the CBHT lot (off Broad Street; please do not use the N. Liberty Street entrance) and enter the synagogue through the parking lot entrance.  Unger Hall is downstairs in the religious school part of CBHT.  There are stairs immediately to the right of the parking lot entrance or there is an elevator near the back of the main sanctuary.

All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise.  If you have any questions, call or email Jay Jacoby (298-9433/ jbjacoby@uncc.edu).

There will be no meeting on November 24, the day after Thanksgiving.  Our group will resume on December 1, when we will be discussing Chapters 6 and 7 of The Grammar of God (“Law,” and “Song”  pp. 116-163).   We expect our discussions of The Grammar of God to conclude on either December 8 or 15.  After a short break, we’ll continue with a new subject.  If you have any suggestions, please contact Jay Jacoby (298-9433/ jbjacoby@uncc.edu).

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"I find it quite remarkable that people are both open and respectful! Open? That happens. Respectful? Not everywhere!! But always here!" - Judith Hoy

Learning for Adults

Do you ever wonder what it’s all about? Curious what Judaism has to say about today’s thornier problems? Always wanted to learn to speak Hebrew? Yiddish? Or maybe you just want to get more out of Shabbat and the other holidays. You’re in the right place. We get together weekly, monthly or whenever we can. Many, but not all, groups are led by Rabbi Justin. And not all take place at the synagogue.

Weekly/Monthly Learning

Click on a program to learn more

Learning Throughout the Year


At least once each year, the CBI hosts a Scholar/Artist-in-Residence for a weekend. Previous scholars/artists include: Rabbi Harold Kushner; Israeli writer/entertainer, Danny Maseng; dancer and creator of MOVING TORAH, Andrea Hodos; storyteller and folklorist, Pennina Schram.  

Holiday Study

The holidays provide opportunities to deepen our understanding of who we are - as individuals and as a people. We take advantage of as many as we can, including Tu b'Shevat, Purim, Pesach, Shavuot, Tisha b'Av, and more.  

Dinner and a Movie

 Start with a dairy pot-luck dinner, add a few dozen of your friends, then settle in for a movie that's sure to make you laugh, cry, love, cringe or, at the very least, think.

"We love that our daughters are not only learning about their Judaism, but are living it through their participation in multi-generational, experiential learning opportunities." Dr. Mike Weizman

Youth Education Program

Forget Sunday School. CBI's Youth Education Program is an innovative and exciting multi-generational, hands-on Jewish educational experience for parents and their children. Once a week during the school year, families come together for experiential learning that incorporates: Hebrew, Traditions, Culture and History, and Ethics and Values. The result is an experience that fosters deep relationships among families, our congregation and the greater community, while strengthening Jewish identity on a personal level. 

Register your child(ren) on line


Bar/Bat Mitzvah Preparation

One of the beautiful aspects of raising Jewish kids in Asheville is that they tend to grow up with a sense of groundedness. Their bar/bat mitzvah is not an over-the-top competition. It's just one of life's milestones. It's not a culmination of their Jewish learning and engagement - it's the beginning.

Bar/Bat mitzvah study is introduced early on, at least several years prior to the event. Our kids study with Josefa Briant, a former soloist in the Batsheva Dance Company (Tel Aviv) with a deep sense of spirituality. They meet as a class to acquire the skills needed to lead services. About a year out, kids begin studying one-one-one to learn their Torah portion and haftorah and begin to meet with Rabbi Justin to get a taste of what Jewish study with a chevruta (partner) is all about. After it's over, many decide to remain engaged. That is our measure of success.  

Post Bar/Bat Mitzvah Learning

The post b'nei mitzvah group is for those young adults 13 and over who have already become bar/bat mitzvvah. The student-led group meets the first Tuesday of the month with Rabbi Goldstein in a setting that is open, safe and confidential. Topics for discussion revolve around creating, growing and sustaining meaningful relationships and use both text study and discussion as tools with which to explore Jewish life and Jewish values.  For more information, please contact Rabbi Goldstein.

"The culture of learning at CBI is vibrant, non-dogmatic, participatory, respectful, relevant, and evolving within the context of our growing congregation. The intellect and the spirit are equally honored." -Dr. Robert Klein